Reviews

Zombie mansion review

Review by Nigel Wood

Zombie mansion is the first full 1st person shooter to come to iPhone. Yes, there’s cube, but it doesn’t have a full story mode/campaign and is mainly a tech demo. Set in a huge mansion, it is your task to escape, while fending off hordes of the undead. As you creep around the halls you must search for keys that allow access to further areas of the mansion, and eventually your way out.

So, how does it look? Well it’s not the prettiest game I’ve ever seen. It reminded me of Hexen on the PC back in the day, with basic geometry and texturing. Don’t expect Unreal engine style graphics here. And if we were to compare it to Cube then that demo wins hands down in the visuals department. 

The controls consist of a virtual d-pad for forward, back and turning, plus above this are two arrows for strafing. There is no vertical look control, instead the camera is fixed. This avoids the difficult dual stick style control setups which haven’t been too successful on iphone so far. However, the d-pad isn’t ideal and makes your movement feel a bit lifeless, with you running, stopping and turning in s robotic manner. Fire and jump are mapped on the right hand side as button and work pretty well. And allow you to do both while on the run.

When you fire, you shoot out a ball of energy, which has a satisfying sound and lights up the area around it as it journey’s towards it’s target. There are various undead enemies to dispatch ranging from mummies, knights, sorcerers and ogres. Unfortunately they don’t offer much of a challenge. The AI is basic at best, with enemies following generic set paths, mainly running up and down halls until they spot you, once they do they just run at you arms flailing. A few times an ogre saw me but couldn’t get to me because he was stuck behind a pillar, jogging on the spot. I naturally put him out of his misery.

Ok, it’s not the best looking game in the world, the AI is terrible and the controls are pretty weak. But for some reason I found myself having fun with it. Running around hunting for secrets, retrieving keys and kicking ass, all the while trying to remember the way out and get the best time. This dungeon crawling gameplay stands up above the negatives.

I have to give Sean Cross, the developer, props. For he created this as a side project to his regular work with little or no access to the kind of support you would see at a large publisher like Gameloft… and so as pet project it’s a good effort. It can only get better, and I hope he continues to refine it as I believe with a bit more work on the AI and with the support of a 3D artist it could become a solid game. 

 

 

Presentation & Graphics

For a 3D game the graphics look very dated.

 

Sound

Music is pretty good, but apart from the sound from your weapon, the sound effects are pretty standard

 

Gameplay:
 

If you can get past the basic graphics and AI there is some fun to be had

 

Game life:

It will take you a few hours to get through the mansion, plus there’s 3 levels of difficulty.

 

Game rating:

 

Final word:
As of right now I can’t really recommend this game to the masses, for people who like retro style 3D dungeon crawlers you may find this game to your liking, and it’s those kind of people that could earn Zombie Mansion a cult following. The price is a bit steep, it’s available now for a limited time for $4.99 but it will soon be $6.99, for that price you’d expect xbox live arcade production values.

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  • iPGN-Nige

    The developer gave me a tip to improve controls, and that’s to “rest your left thumb on the dpad and slide it around rather than lifting and pressing. Keeping the thumb pressed makes the controls much better.”

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